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THE DARK AGES                       in

probably its establishment on its island in the Lake of Constance to
the teaching of a Scot. Under the shelter of these great houses
learning was planted in a multitude of lesser societies scattered
over the tracks of German colonization; and almost invariably
the impulse which led to their formation as schools as well as
monasteries, if not their actual foundation, is directly due to the
energetic devotion of the Scottish travellers."* In later times
these scions of Irish monasticism went still farther afield, reaching
through Germany to Poland and Bulgaria. It is a wonderful
testimony to the vitality of the movement that so late as the
Twelfth Century quite a number of monasteries were established
by them in different parts of Europe where the Irish traditions
were in large measure maintained.


Fine as was the work done by the Irish teachers in its own way,
their schools were too few in number and too distinctive in their
genius to do more than exercise an indirect influence in the
reconstruction of European education. The real successors of
the old Roman schools were not those of the monks, whether
Celtic or Roman, but those of the bishops. As early as the Third
Century schools for the training of the clergy were conducted by
the bishops; but so long as the public schools of grammar and
rhetoric existed, the instruction they gave had reference for the
most part to theology and to pastoral duties. With the disappear-
ance of the public schools, however, it became necessary for the
episcopal schools to widen their scope so as to include the elements
of a more general education. At first, indeed, this extension of
their functions seems to have met with considerable opposition
from those who were still prejudiced against the old literary
studies and who saw more danger in educating the clergy than in
keeping them ignorant. The letter written by Pope Gregory to
Bishop Desiderius was probably a protest against one of the
earliest attempts to make the bishop's school a school for grammar
as well as for theology. Gregory, as we have seen, was indignant
because grammar was being taught by the bishop's fraternity to
" certain persons " (quibusdam) not specified. If, as seems likely,
* R, L. Poole, History of Medieval Thought^ p. 14.